“The Spirit of God encourages us to become instruments of the saving love of God, especially by helping people to encounter God in their own lives.” These are the words of Marija Rusteikaitė, foundress of the Sisters of Divine Providence, and they are a guiding principle as the Sisters go out to do God’s work.
Five years ago, the Sisters of Divine Providence established a convent in the town of Utena, a regional industrial center in the north-east of the country which has a number of schools and universities, and consequently a large population of young people. There are two Catholic parishes here, both of which offer a range of activities for young people.
The Sisters were saddened to discover that many young people still see God as someone who above all scrutinizes and punishes and have never come to know him as a loving Father who forgives, offers hope and loves them as they are. They also found that many Catholics, who had heard something of the Gospel message through baptisms, First Communions, weddings or funerals, were still struggling to answer basic questions such as these: “Aren’t all religions equal?” “Can a modern, educated person really also be sincerely a Catholic?” “Can the Catholic faith really be reconciled with the findings of science and modern life?” The Sisters were often confronted with statements like, “I believe that Jesus was a good and wise man, but I don’t believe He was God.”
For six months, the Sisters went into the schools in order to help the young people find answers to these questions. This program was so well received that the Sisters began to perceive that the tremendous demand for answers was a sign from God, so they decided to establish an evangelization center in their convent.
Now they want to give the opportunity to young people and young adults to spend some time, even a few days, in this evangelization center, taking part in days of recollection and similar events. They need to be able to accommodate groups of up to 20 young people at a time.
There will be spiritual exercises, talks and discussions based around the Theology of the Body of Saint John Paul II, weekend meetings for vocation discernment, individual counselling and accompaniment of young people and adults, and programs for women traumatized by abortion. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in the chapel throughout this time and the Sisters and young people will take turns in adoration. It will also be open to any Catholics from outside.
To achieve this end, some adaptation and extension work to the convent will be necessary. ACN has promised to help with a contribution of $15,900.
Will you give to help expand this convent in Lithuania so that these Sisters can help young people better understand and encounter the saving love of God in their lives?
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